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13 Oct 2013

I can still remember the faces when I suggested a method of dealing with what most teachers of English considered one of their pet...

01 Feb 2012

Text use may seem a dull topic after all the exciting matters that other guest writers have dealt with recently. 

09 Nov 2011

As a teacher I had always perceived 'reading aloud' as a 'taboo' in the EFL classroom since it focuses specifically on a 'bottom-up'...

05 Jul 2011

A feature that is common both to language teaching and to traditional folk and fairy tales is the repetition of phrases or ‘language...

01 Feb 2011

This is the second of Michael Swan's articles for TeachingEnglish, in which he looks at the role of texts in the learning process.

Using news articles - reading article
08 Jan 2010

Topical news stories are a great source of teaching material. This article presents different ways to exploit news reports in the...

08 Dec 2009

In this, the first of two articles for TeachingEnglish, Alan Maley considers the benefits extensive reading can bring to English...

09 Dec 2008

There are many ways of revising and consolidating grammar, but I've found it's often useful to give students short passages containing...

How useful are comprehension questions? - reading article - guest writers
02 Nov 2008

You may well ask me “How useful is the question in this title?” After all to check what a student has understood after listening to or...

30 Apr 2008

In my earlier articles Reading for information, Form focus and recycling, and Techniques for Priming and recycling, I set out a four...

Techniques for priming and recycling - reading article - guest writers
24 Apr 2008

A four stage methodology for reading.

In Reading for Information, and Form focus and recycling, I have proposed a four stage...

Form focus and recycling: getting grammar - reading article - guest writers
16 Apr 2008

In my last article, Reading for Information: Motivating learners to read efficiently, I referred to four stages in a task-based reading...

Reading for information: Motivating learners to read efficiently - reading article - guest writers
04 Apr 2008

This is the first in a series of four articles which propose a four stage methodology for teaching reading.

09 Nov 2006

If telling my students "And now we're going to practise listening," elicits looks of dread and fear, announcing reading practice can...

Theories of reading 2 - reading article
29 Mar 2006

This article is the second of two parts. The first part looked at some of the shifts and trends in theories relating to reading. This...

Theories of reading - reading article
23 Mar 2006

This article is in two parts. The first part will look at some of the shifts and trends in theories relating to reading. The second part...

Extensive reading - reading article
21 Jul 2005

In general, students learning to read in English do not like reading and they rarely read. This is partly due to the way reading is...

reading a computer screen and a book
09 May 2005

One of the enormous benefits of the Internet has been the accessibility of loads and loads of English texts for teachers to use with...

Reading and elementary learners - reading article
02 Aug 2004

One of the key issues I've noticed in getting my elementary learners to read is that of self-confidence. 

Designing a WWW reading task - reading article
24 Apr 2003

The world wide web offers a myriad of opportunities for authentic English reading texts.

Interacting with texts - Directed activities related to texts (DARTs) - reading article
27 Feb 2003

Good readers use what they know about language and the world to interact with what they are reading. This helps them create meaning from...

  • They had seen promises come and go and mere words weren't going to convince them, which was a shame as it was mere words that we were principally dealing with. Most teachers were unimpressed by the extended reading challenge from the Ministry, and...
  • However, language learning is, after all, learning language, not just doing fun things with it. And texts – by which I mean the relatively short spoken and written passages that come in textbooks and other teaching materials – can, if they are used...
  • That coupled with my own negative experiences from school meant that I never did it in my own classes, but this year that changed.
  • In the most popular English versions of some traditional tales the exact same phrase is repeated unmodified, e.g. ‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down,’ Wolf threatens each of the Three Little Pigs. In other tales a phrase is...
  • The need for intensive input-output workI argued in the previous article that intensive input/output work is crucial for cost-effective language teaching and learning. This is particularly the case in learning situations where extensive input, and...
  •   Selection criteria Before reading First reading Second reading Language focus Follow up Sources   Selection criteria It is important that you choose your news article wisely. You should consider the following criteria.
  • What is Extensive Reading (ER)? Extensive Reading is often referred to but it is worth checking on what it actually involves.  Richard Day has provided a list of key characteristics of ER (Day 2002). This is complemented by Philip Prowse (2002)....
  • What kind of grammar? I've been teaching in Italy for several years, and Italians characteristically use the Present Perfect to describe the past. Thus, ‘Yesterday, I have bought a new computer,' is a very typical mistake, even for Italian-speakers...
  • Teachers’ comprehension questions Comprehension questions are a part of an EFL teacher’s arsenal that few people would regard as controversial. In ordinary conversation, in L1, it is quite normal to ask a comprehension question if you are unsure...
  •   Priming Reading Form focus Recycling We have looked at techniques for priming and for recycling the language in the text. In this article I'm going to suggest some more techniques for form focus and then summarise very briefly the reasons for...
  •   Priming Reading Form focus Recycling And I have given an example of how that methodology might be applied with one particular text about sharks. In this article I'd like to look at more ways of priming and recycling. After this, I hope you...
  •   Priming Reading Form focus Recycling We looked at the first two stages in this process, priming and reading. Now I'd like to look at the next two stages. At the beginning of my last article, when I was talking about how we read I said ‘If you...
  • What is efficient reading? What happens when you read a book, a newspaper or magazine for information on a topic that interests you, or when you are reading as part of a course of study? If you are a good reader you almost certainly don't read every...
  • And these reactions are from my adult students. My young learners' reactions may be even more extreme. "I can read at home, I come to lessons to speak!" more than one of my students has told me. Many students do seem to regard reading as a waste of...
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  • The traditional view The cognitive view The metacognitive view Conclusion   Just like teaching methodology, reading theories have had their shifts and transitions. Starting from the traditional view which focused on the printed form of a text and...
  • The reading skill is most often taught by close study of short passages followed by analysis of language.  Extensive reading: An alternative approach Aims of extensive reading The characteristics of an extensive reading approach Motivation The...
  • But the gap between a teacher finding a text and successfully using it in class can be quite large. How should teachers use texts? How have they used them in the past? This article looks at different approaches to text in the language classroom....
  • When confronted with a reading text, particularly one that's authentic, or semi-authentic, it's easy for them to think; 'I haven't got enough grammar or vocabulary' or 'I can't read English.' There's then a danger that I tune into their fears and...
  • Any good teacher can turn a reasonable authentic reading text into a useful and fulfilling activity, so why not take the same skills you might use with a newspaper article and turn them to good use, bearing in mind various aspects of the newer...
  • Classroom activities that encourage interaction with texts, like directed activities related to texts (DARTs), improve students' reading comprehension.What are directed activities related to texts (DARTs)?What types of activities can you use in...